On the eve of Facebook’s F8 conference, many awaited the Bot Store announcement for the Messenger app. This feature would open the messaging platform to third party developers, much like Apple’s App Store did for its phones in 2008 (and later for all its other products). The App Store generated over $20 billion for brands and the developer community last year, from which Apple takes a 30% cut.
One of the main reasons why bots are piquing people’s interests right now, is because cognitive computing and machine learning are developing faster than many predicted.
As the world around us continues to become more controllable by our smartphones, Artificial Intelligence powered bots act as personal assistants, concierges, analysts, etc. Since they understand natural language, these bots can easily be accessed via messaging or speech interfaces, paving the way to a future without apps. You can already see the conversational interaction happening: You tell your friends you’re going to “cab it” to the festival on Facebook Messenger, and instantly you’re offered an Uber option.
Tell your friend you’re going to “cab it” to the festival on Facebook Messenger, and instantly you’re offered an Uber option.
The Bot Store will bring a new wave of opportunities for festivals and brands. Many are saying it will be as big–if not bigger–as the App Store; the phrase “Bots are the new Apps” is already trending. Overall, there are many reasons to believe that bots will have a significant impact:
- Many already have Facebook Messenger, which will be the only download needed to access all of the (Messenger) bot world.
- Messaging is a familiar interface to most using the internet today, and messaging apps are still on the rise.
- Messenger Bots won’t be restricted to only messaging, but can embed graphical user interfaces whenever needed, expanding possibilities.
- Many bots will run on cognitive computing architectures, learning about their users and domains, and improve as more people use them.
- Facebook already has a massive and well-used infrastructure in place to promote the Bot Store and individual bots.
What could and should we do with all these bots? To support a festival, bots–-just like apps– need to first and foremost be beneficial to the users. Essentially, bots will bring value in the same way the internet and apps have so far—with even more emphasis on personalization, context and speed. There are four sources of value for bots:
Hit up a festival website, Facebook page, or send an email to the festival organization—in many cases you won’t get a direct response or the information you were looking for. Instead, bots can ask you more detailed questions to define exactly what you need.
How can your festival brand bring users the knowledge they need, when they need it — when don’t know they need it?
Bots will save time, and you can use them to request multiple services at once. For example: ask Uber to arrange a ride to the festival site, get reminders when your favorite band is about to play, find your friends that are somewhere “left of the stage,” top up your RFID chip to buy more beers — all within the same message.
How can your festival brand–on its own or with other brands–work to enhance the attendee experience in order to reduce time, effort and money?
A lot of the festivals apps are about centralizing information and pushing brand messages when you enter the beacon’s radius. With bots, you will see more personalized messaging that has more relevant context to you and your experience.
Bots will enable doing new things that previously unimaginable. Spoken language interfaces could walk you through the festival site to other stages, or recommend food stands based on your Facebook likes. Instead of one general message to all attendees, personalized messages from festival promoter sponsors can be sent to attendees; i Hyper profiling and extra context will get more sponsorship and generate instant ROI for those brands.
How can you get insight into your customers’ personalities, and build tailored experiences around them?
Ultimately, messaging is about connections. Bots can connect the people and resources you need without complications. Take First Aid at a festival as an example. If you needed medical assistance, you could just message a festival bot that could automatically locate you and send a medical team your way. In another case, the bot can let you know when you need some water based on your spending behavior at the bar or if it’s time to touch up on some sunscreen.
How can your festival communicate about preventive security measures, and create a safer festival environment?
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